A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell by Donald Worster

By Donald Worster

If the notice "hero" nonetheless belonged within the historian's lexicon, it'll definitely be utilized to John Wesley Powell. Intrepid explorer, cautious scientist, gifted author, and committed conservationist, Powell led the day trip that placed the Colorado River on American maps and printed the Grand Canyon to the realm. Now comes the 1st biography of this towering determine in nearly fifty years--a publication that captures his existence in all its heroism, idealism, and ambivalent, ambiguous humanity. In A River working West, Donald Worster, certainly one of our top Western historians, tells the tale of Powell's nice adventures and describes his ancient importance with compelling readability and talent. Worster paints a bright portrait of the way this guy emerged from the early nineteenth-century international of immigrants, fervent faith, and rough-and-tumble rural tradition, and infrequently survived the Civil conflict conflict at Shiloh. the center of Worster's biography is Powell's epic trip down the Colorado in 1869, a story of harrowing reviews, deadly injuries, and breathtaking discoveries. After years within the sector gathering rocks and fossils and studying to talk the neighborhood local American languages, Powell back to Washington as an eloquent suggest for the West, certainly one of America's first and such a lot influential conservationists. yet after all, he fell sufferer to a clique of Western politicians who driven for unfettered financial improvement, relegating the getting older explorer to a quiet lifetime of anthropological contemplation. John Wesley Powell embodied the strength, optimism, and westward impulse of the younger usa. A River working West is a gorgeously written, magisterial account of this nice American explorer and environmental pioneer, a real tale of undaunted braveness within the American West.

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They sold their properties, therefore, packed their belongings, and prepared to depart, this time without Walter, who chose to stay behind with his wife, though he rejoined them later on. Crookham they also left behind, and not long after he died of a stroke at the age of seventy-seven. Despite all the controversy they had attracted, “many prominent citizens” turned up to say good-bye; the Powells were leaving not only a community of terrorists but also many good friends. “With characteristic warm Southern hearts,” Bram remembered, those friends followed the Powells on the way out of town, some camping with them the first night before turning back.

Still, the man was a prodigy, like a great talking stone in their midst that no one dared run against. Townsmen told how he had gone to A Mission to America 29 Chillicothe once to get a certificate to teach school; he was handed a newspaper to read, upside down, but fooled his examiners by proceeding to read it in that position. He was a brilliant talker, they agreed, always interesting to listen to, withering in denunciation of fools and rascals, a plain-dealing and self-made man as they all were.

West of Mt. Morris lay a vast gorge through which the Genesee flowed, a wild and noble relic of the Ice Age. On the other side beckoned a still newer frontier, Wyoming County. There a reservation had been established for the Senecas, and there the famous white woman, Mary Jemison, who had been carried into captivity and married an Indian man, lived out her last years. Lumbermen, however, were invading the Seneca lands with impunity, cutting down their thick forest of oak, chestnut, hemlock, beech, and white pine for the Rochester market.

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